EXCLUSIVE: After a long manhunt that involved months of interviews with substantial authors, Michael Mann has found his co-writer for the prequel novel to Mann’s landmark crime film Heat. Writing with Mann will be Reed Farrel Coleman, the four-time Edgar Award-nominated author who is up for the award tonight for his 2016 novel Where It Hurts, part of mystery series that revolves around the retired Suffolk County cop Gus Murphy. Coleman will collaborate with Mann to tell an origin story involving the characters that populated the Al Pacino-Robert De Niro-led ensemble drama that Mann scripted, directed and produced. The novel will be published next year under the Michael Mann imprint at William Morrow/HarperCollins.
What potential story lines were teased in the movie that could make for a compelling origin story chapters? They include how Robert De Niro’s Neil McCauley met his crew members played by Val Kilmer, Danny Trejo and Tom Sizemore as they bonded in Folsom Prison as McCauley was formulating his heist mentality that included being schooled by the mentor who told him do not have anything in your life that you can’t walk out on in 15 seconds. Some early cases involving Pacino’s detective character Vincent Hanna were also teased in the movie, such as when Nate (Jon Voight) told McCauley about his nemesis cop’s dogged nature, noting that he hunted Frankie Yonder in Chicago, before he built his own crime fighting crew. Most of those characters, including the wheelchair-bound Kelso (Tom Noonan) who provided the bank alarm schematics had history that was part of the mythology Mann developed with research based on the exploits of real characters on either side of the law. Mann’s detective pal Charlie Adamson hunted down the real McCauley and much of the drama is based on actual events, including the cop inviting the robber for the cup of coffee that informed the iconic face-to-face between De Niro and Pacino. Coleman will soon be immersing himself in Mann’s research files.
Mann was a fan of Coleman’s Gus Murphy novels, but the author also has hit the NYT bestseller lists three times since taking over the Jesse Stone mystery series after Robert B Parker passed away. Coleman becomes the second major author to partner with Mann on his new publishing imprint after Mann partnered with bestselling The Cartel author Don Winslow on a novel about the relationship between legendary organized crime boss Tony Accardo and his innovative protégé, Sam Giancana, and the explosive repercussions that ensued.
Mann separately has a non-fiction book near completion that he is keeping under wraps for now. Heat recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and on May 9 Fox releases the Director’s Definitive Edition of the movie on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Coleman, whose most recent novel What You Break was published in February, and Michael Mann Books are repped by Shane Salerno at The Story Factory. Mann is also represented by CAA, LBI and attorney Harold Brown.
Mann just separately teamed with producer Michael De Luca on an acquisition of the upcoming Mark Bowden Vietnam Tet Offensive book Hue 1968, which they’ll turn into an eight to 10-hour miniseries, with Mann planning to direct multiple episodes.